Omni Hotels president denies misuse of PPP loans
Omni Hotels & Resorts chairman Peter Strebel has spoken out against allegations that the luxury hotel chain abused loan funds from the company’s payroll protection program.
UNITE HERE, a union representing workers at eight Omni hotels across the country, claimed that Omni Hotels had not rehired workers in accordance with PPP requirements, but, according to a public post from Strebel shared on Monday, “every property Omni who received a PPP loan used the funds in accordance with the law and exclusively as Congress intended. “
To date, over $ 51 million, the vast majority of loans, has been paid in the form of payroll expenses and benefits for thousands of our associates, he said.
At the start of the pandemic, Omni Hotels made the decision to temporarily suspend operations at around 90% of its hotels, affecting nearly 22,000 associates. Strebel said in order to reduce the impact on associates, Omni Hotels distributed PPP funds; privately funded financial donations through his foundation, Omni Circle; and information provided at the property and company level, including business updates and temporary employment opportunities.
Through Omni Circle, the Rowling Foundation has agreed to match any donation at 5: 1, Stebel said, allowing the company to provide more than $ 3 million in grants to associates affected by the COVID crisis -19.
“Over the past few days, it has been very disheartening to see organizations and media outlets spreading misinformation about our use of these funds. “
Strebel said this has been a devastating time for companies as well as for associates who may still be out of work. “While many of our hotels have started welcoming guests again, occupancy rates are far from pre-pandemic levels and our road to a full recovery will be long. Indeed, around 20% of our hotels remain closed because there is simply not enough consumer demand for them to reopen. “
In a letter to the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department UNITE HERE executive vice president Carlos Aramayo last month urged the SBA to “take a close look” at the company, particularly if it is asking for a loan forgiveness.
According to Aramayo, Omni affiliates received 32 loans totaling approximately $ 76 million, with “firsthand knowledge” of nearly $ 15 million of funding received by Omni New Haven in Connecticut, Omni Parker House in Boston, Omni Providence in Rhode Island, Omni William Penn in Pittsburgh and Omni San Francisco.
According to Aramayo, the Omni Providence, Omni San Francisco and Omni William Penn remain closed as no union members have been rehired or paid. The Omni New Haven and Omni Parker House only recently reopened without all their facilities, and hotels have not recalled more than 80% of our members who work in hotels.